Monthly Archives: July 2016

Even Conservative US Court Knows Texas Voter ID Law is ‘Affront to Democracy’

 Federal appeals court rules Texas’s voter ID law violates Voting Rights Act

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-20-2016

Court ruling described as “an enormous victory for voters in Texas.” (Photo: justgrimes/flickr/cc)

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Texas’s controversial voter ID law is discriminatory and violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

ThinkProgress describes it as “a stunning, unexpected decision from one of the most conservative federal appeals courts in the country,” the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Signed into law in 2011, Senate Bill 14 has been called the strictest voter ID law in the nation. As the Texas Tribune explains: “Texas is among nine states categorized as requiring ‘strict photo ID,’ and its list of acceptable forms is the shortest.” Continue reading

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CIA-Armed Syrian Rebel Group Just Beheaded a 10-Year-Old Boy on Video

By Claire Bernish. Published 7-19-2016 by The Anti-Media

Photo: Screenshot via Twitter

Photo: Screenshot via Twitter

Handarat, Syria — One of several U.S.-backed Syrian rebel groups has been caught on video taunting—and then beheading—a boy as young as 10 years old.

They claim the youth was a captured Palestinian fighting on behalf of pro-government forces—but his extremely young age, and the fact the group has received training and aid in financing and weapons from the United States government, could incite profoundly negative consequences in a situation already fraught with controversy. Continue reading

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‘A gift from God’: Erdoğan will strike back with an iron fist

Whoever was behind the failed coup attempt, one thing seems clear: Erdogan will use it as a pretext to concentrate and consolidate even more power.

By Jerome Roos. Published 7-17-2016 by ROAR Magazine

The images beamed from across the Bosphorus this weekend were surreal. For a few terrifying hours early on Saturday, no one really knew who was in control of the second largest military power in NATO. As tanks took up strategic positions in Istanbul and Ankara and the embattled President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed an anxious nation from an undisclosed location via FaceTime, it briefly looked like the country might be in the throes of yet another full-blown and irreversible military coup. Continue reading

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Fears for Turkey’s Democracy Build as Post-Coup Crackdown Continues

“The attempted coup d’état of July 15 is like the last nail in the coffin.”

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-17-2016

Soldiers detained for allegedly participating in the coup. Photo via Twitter

Soldiers detained for allegedly participating in the coup. Photo via Twitter

The fallout from the failed military coup in Turkey extended through the weekend, as the number of people arrested rose to about 6,000 and world leaders continued urging restraint from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has said the plotters would pay a “heavy price.”

Erdoğan on Sunday vowed to “clean all state institutions of the virus” of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish president blamed for the uprising. He said members of the “Gülen group” have “ruined” the country’s military and are being taken into custody throughout all ranks. Continue reading

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Abu Dhabi announces launch of Israeli-installed mass surveillance system

The Internet of Things applies unique identifiers to objects, people to be followed, and provides large amounts of data on all aspects of an individual’s movements and activities based on the surveillance equipment used.

By Rori Donaghy. Published 7-15-2016 by openDemocracy

Astronaut photo of Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf, taken from the International Space Station, 2011. Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons

Astronaut photo of Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf, taken from the International Space Station, 2011. Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons

Authorities in Abu Dhabi announced on Wednesday the launch of an emirate-wide surveillance system, which Middle East Eye previously revealed was installed by an Israeli-owned security company.

The Abu Dhabi Monitoring and Control Centre (ADMCC) said the new Falcon Eye surveillance system “links thousands of cameras spread across the city, as well as thousands of other cameras installed at facilities and buildings in the emirate”. Continue reading

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‘Combustible’ GOP Convention: Riot Police Swarm Cleveland as FBI Tells Protesters Not to Show

Cleveland opens up extra space in jails, courts, and shuts down local university to house thousands of riot police and military weaponry as FBI and Homeland Security warn of “radical activists”

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-15-2016

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Authorities in Cleveland, Ohio, are adding fuel to an already “combustible” atmosphere, some activists say, as the city readies extra jail space and courtrooms and shuts down a local university to house 1,700 riot police and their weapons in preparation for demonstrations at next week’s Republican Party convention.

Democracy Now! reported Thursday that city officials “say some courts will be kept open almost 24 hours per day in case protesters are arrested en masse. Authorities have also opened up extra jail space to hold protesters.” Continue reading

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Kurdish Emissaries to share details on ISIS outside both National Conventions

Written by Carol Benedict.

Kurds & Americans fighting together together in Rojava, Syria. Image via Reece Harding News Agency screen shot.

Kurds & Americans fighting together in Rojava, Syria. Image via Reece Harding News Agency screen shot.

 

 

The war against ISIS in the Middle East rages on with no end date set. The majority of the fighting on the ground that is winning back territory and pushing ISIS back is being done by Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq.

Following the Dallas shootings and the murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, a suburb of Minneapolis, the Kurdish women fighters made a public statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“To our black sisters and brothers! The people of Kurdistan stand with you! Here are the women who fight ISIS in Rojava (northern Syria) – saluting your honorable struggle for freedom, dignity, and resistance!”

This follows a recent action in Washington DC, staged across the street from the Turkish Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue. Named “A Vigil for King’s Dream in Kurdistan,” the organizers drew the comparisons between the history of the black people in America and that of the Kurds within the borders of Turkey. In the words of the event organizer. Kani Xulam of the American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN). The Vigil enraged the Turkish Embassy for 92 days before the group left the site.

Now, a trip to both National Conventions has been organized by the AKIN to provide information to Americans on the war against ISIS and how the American-Kurdish alliance strengthens both America and the stateless nation of Kurdistan. The media advisory issued by the group includes the following:

Information on how Kurds can help America win the war against ISIS will be available for the press at both:
–The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, beginning Saturday, July 16, 2016.
–The Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, beginning the following Saturday, July 23, 2016.
Kurdish Americans and their friends will be on hand to provide details on how Kurdish freedom fighters can beat ISIS overseas—before it can bring large scale attacks to America.
“Kurds are fighting ISIS tooth and nail and we want Americans to help us prevail,” said Kani Xulam, the director of American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN), an organizer of the trip.

Banner to look for at both National Conventions to offer solidarity with Kurdish Americans. Image via Facebook.

Banner to look for at both National Conventions to offer solidarity with Kurdish Americans. Image via Facebook.

 

Xulam continues, “It may be viewed as a Cassandra like observation, but Kurds hold the key to the peace of American cities like Cleveland and Philadelphia.

Helping Kurds is an investment in peace in America.”

We challenge you to find these people at the National Convention of your choice. Their message of Peace is nonpartisan and welcoming.

Sometimes you have to take the extra effort to understand how peace can be attained. The choice is yours, the message is truth.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an indépendant researcher and human rights activist who has been studying Kurdish history, culture and politics for over three years. She currently writes for Occupy World Writes exclusively.

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In Attempt to Dodge Suit, White House Argues Funding War Makes War Legal

U.S. Army captain sued President Obama over legality of sprawling ISIS conflict

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-13-2016

"To honor my oath, I am asking the court to tell the president that he must get proper authority from Congress, under the War Powers Resolution, to wage the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria," Captain Nathan Michael Smith wrote in his lawsuit. (Photo: The White House/Pete Souza)

“To honor my oath, I am asking the court to tell the president that he must get proper authority from Congress, under the War Powers Resolution, to wage the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” Captain Nathan Michael Smith wrote in his lawsuit. (Photo: The White House/Pete Souza)

A lawsuit filed earlier this year charging President Barack Obama with waging an illegal war against the Islamic State (or ISIS) was met on Tuesday with a motion from the Obama administration asking the court to dismiss it.

In its motion to dismiss (pdf), the administration argues that Congressional funding for the war amounts to Congressional approval for it. Continue reading

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China Rejects Hague’s South China Sea Ruling as “US-Led Conspiracy”

Ruling in favor of the Philippines, tribunal court “cut the legal heart out of China’s claim” to the disputed marine region

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2016

Chinese dredging vessels seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this video image taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the U.S. Navy, May 21, 2015.

Chinese dredging vessels seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this video image taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the U.S. Navy, May 21, 2015.

An international tribunal at the Hague overwhelmingly rejected China’s claims to the South China Sea on Tuesday, in a move that observers say is likely to stoke tensions between the Asian powerhouse and its primary rival, the United States.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), China’s actions have violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines, which brought the case to court. Further, the court ruled that China’s practice of dredging sand to build artificial islands on the region’s disputed reefs has caused “severe harm to the coral reef environment.”  Continue reading

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‘Divisive, Illiberal and Calculating’ Theresa May to be Crowned UK Prime Minister

“It is simply inconceivable that…May should be crowned prime minister without even having won an election in her own party, let alone the country”

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-11-2016

Theresa May could be appointed Prime Minister as soon as Thursday, the Guardian notes. (Photo: Surrey County Council News/flickr/cc)

Theresa May could be appointed Prime Minister as soon as Thursday, the Guardian notes. (Photo: Surrey County Council News/flickr/cc)

Conservative Party candidate Theresa May is set to be the new UK prime minister as her intra-party opponent, Andrea Leadsom, dropped out of the race on Monday in another post-Brexit political upheaval.

May received 199 votes from other Members of Parliament versus Leadsom’s 84 votes. The home office secretary is now expected to be formally confirmed by the Conservative Party board and the chairman of the Tory 1922 committee, clearing the way for her to be appointed prime minister by Tory MPs, who also have a majority in the House of Commons. Continue reading

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